Three-dimensional printing provides an exciting opportunity to customise upper-limb prostheses. OBJECTIVE: This review summarises the research that assesses the efficacy and effectiveness of three-dimensional printed upper-limb prostheses. STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review. METHODS: PubMed, Web of Science and OVID were systematically searched for studies that reported human trials of three-dimensional printed upper-limb prostheses. The studies matching the language, peer-review and relevance criteria were ranked by level of evidence and critically appraised using the Downs and Black Quality Index. RESULTS: After removing duplicates, 321 records were identified. Eight papers met the inclusion criteria. No studies used controls; five were case studies and three were small case-series studies. All studies showed promising results, but none demonstrated external validity, avoidance of bias or statistically significant improvements over conventional prostheses. The studies demonstrated proof-of-concept rather than assessing efficacy, and the devices were designed to prioritise reduction of manufacturing costs, not customisability for comfort and function. CONCLUSION: The potential of three-dimensional printing for individual customisation has yet to be fully realised, and the efficacy and effectiveness to be rigorously assessed. Until randomised controlled trials with follow-up are performed, the comfort, functionality, durability and long-term effects on quality of life remain unknown. Clinical relevance Initial studies suggest that three-dimensional printing shows promise for customising low-cost upper-limb prosthetics. However, the efficacy and effectiveness of these devices have yet to be rigorously assessed. Until randomised controlled trials with follow-up are performed, the comfort, functionality, durability and long-term effects on patient quality of life remain unknown.